Recap: The Points, Gut Reactions & More at The Vault, 10.18.09


[ED. NOTE: Yes, we realize this show happened over a week ago. The Fan-Belt editorial staff regrettably received the article a bit late and then went out of town all weekend. Procrastination is like a snowball down a hill in a Looney Tune, man. What can we say? We blew it. That being said, welcome Anthony Schwader to the F-B writing staff.]

Words by Anthony Schwader (didn’t we say that already?)

It’s finally fall, my favorite season. Although this summer wasn’t brutal by any measure, I still welcome the falling leaves, night fog, and what I like to call “hoodie weather”. Fall temperatures also make working up a sweat enjoyable because cooling down is as simple as stepping outside. So the Vault in the fall is where it’s at because I’ve been known to sweat all over the place from either seeing or playing great shows there. I entered the basement and after munching some pigs in a blanket, I cracked open a Milwaukee’s Best Ice and waited for my night to start.

I was ready for the first ever Cause Heads show. It has been almost a joke now about them ever playing because of terrible luck with shows falling through, so I figured they would be that much better from more practice time. Click, Click, BOOM! A rapid-fire cacophony belched out. I moved from a side view to the front to get a better sound, because the music was not melding at all. The tinny guitar conjured foggy whirlwinds of confetti in all directions, creating a black hole for the precise, sterile bass lines. As if that wasn’t enough, lead scowler Geoff’s snarling vocals went unheard most of the set because of a mic problem. Some hecklers were having a good time, and I felt the crowd uncomfortably smiling and nervously taking each song in. But, like finding change cleaning out your wet-vac, there were some glimpses of brilliance! The songs themselves sounded smartly written, and I give way more credit to good composition than stage energy, lighting, etc. I caught whiffs of bassist Clint Parson’s other band, Rapid Adapter, inside some of the compositions, but sloppier, nastier, ballsier. Songs at times changed on a dime. I liked, but I’m looking forward to hearing these dudes in a different venue, as I was disappointed to walk away frustrated at the whole package.

Magic Words set up next and, like a good cracker at a wine tasting, ushered in a new melodic flavor with eerily perfect sound levels. This Milwaukee four piece was also celebrating its first show ever, and I was impressed by how smooth the music came. I could sense people around me getting all dancey, and I shook my tiny little thing for a minute or two before heading outside to use the official Vault bathroom. Those predictable verse chorus verse ditties were sweet icing, very delicious at first, but still lacking edge or foundation. Still, a great first outing.

I was really feeling my sweet drunk zone just in time for my favorite local Milwaukee band, the mighty Gut Reactions. I can remember a time when to me they were just okay, but through adding the right members, consistent songwriting, and no-air-left-in-the-room live shows, these five can no longer be denied. Although they look a little funny considering the music they make, they do it without posing, intimidation, gimmicks, or props. They simply flex. The music punished the crowd; their traditional rock riffs melted into pounding oddly-timed sonic assaults. Drummer Josh was spot on—he rarely overplays, which transfigures his caveman beats into primal percussive ammunition. My eyes though, were on vocalist Lee Olson as he hopped from spot to spot like Q*Bert while making hand gestures only he understood, swaying back and forth unpredictably like a bastard mix of David Yow and Anthony VanDueren. They were comfortable in their skin and even the people watching let loose for a slamdance or two. Song after song they slammed it down, and even after a 7 minute guitar malfunction/Olson rant, finished with one of my favorites, “The Ballad of Logan Potter”. I felt amazing. This is what powerful music is all about!

The touring band The Points are from DC and this is their second time at the Vault within six months; they’ve been hitting the road hard. They ripped into an aggressive set, playing fast hard rock and roll with tension and energy. Think a drop of The Reds mixed with a tease of the Marked Men.

I start to lose bits of the night here; my friend Adam Smasher cajoled me into shotgunning a sixteen ounce Beast Ice with him. I remember talking about NES/SNES games for a while, whipping it out for the Vault bathroom once more, and then stumbling home to my teddy bear, Mr. Chicken. I told him that I hope those two cute new hatchling bands will put the future brightening detergent in the basement scene washer, and set the fucker on heavy load. Mr. Chicken just looked at me. I then pulled the covers up and fell asleep from another wasted night at a basement show, which is, in my opinion, the best place for underground music.


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3 Responses to “Recap: The Points, Gut Reactions & More at The Vault, 10.18.09”

  1. jamie Says:

    great write up tony, i remember it that way, too! look forward to seeing how these new bands develop.

  2. Yale Says:

    Nice write up tony.

  3. Melissa Says:

    This was fun to read, awesome!

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